Thunder – March 18, 1999

Thunder
Date: March 18, 1999
Location: Rupp Arena,
Lexington, Kentucky
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
For the life of me I
don’t know why I didn’t go to this show. I remember hearing about it
on WCW TV around this time but I never saw an ad for the show life.
I went to the other Thunder but not this one for some reason.
Anyway, WCW is coming out of a really good Nitro and a big upgrade to
this month’s pay per view, even though it wasn’t a great show. Let’s
get to it.

Opening sequence.
The announcers talk
about Nitro’s tag match and mention Flair walking out on Goldberg.
They did a really bad job of explaining that on Monday as Flair was
legdropped a few seconds earlier and was down when the show ended.
Kenny Kaos vs. Bobby
Duncum Jr.
Kaos grabs a few
headlocks on the mat but gets countered into a headscissors every
time. A hard shoulder sends Duncum to the floor and back inside a
powerslam gets two for Kenny. Bobby comes back with a shoulder block
but pulls Kaos up at two. He follows up with a shoulder breaker for
two and we hit a quickly broken chinlock. Bobby gets a boot up in
the corner but walks into a powerslam for two. Duncum comes right
back with a Skull Crushing Finale for the pin.
Rating:
D.
Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t go to this show. There were a few
weeks there where Thunder was trying, but a Bobby Duncum Jr. vs.
Kenny Kaos match isn’t trying. It’s filling in the TV time with
wrestlers who happen to work for WCW. The fact that this is the live
show scares me.
We recap the Stevie
Ray/Horace/Vince stuff from Monday.
Gene brings out Curt
Hennig for a chat. Curt says he’s that certain someone that every
promoter is looking for. Flair may be the President of WCW but he’s
also the World Champion. Hennig wants to face him for the title
tonight and insults short people for some reason. He brings up
slamming the cage door on Flair’s head a year and a half ago. Flair
has fifteen minutes to respond.
Vampiro vs. Prince
Iaukea
This
is Vampiro’s return after one match back in June of 1998. A shoulder
block and spinning kick to the face drop the Prince but he comes back
with a springboard missile dropkick. Prince goes up again but
springboards into a clothesline. Iaukea comes back with a dive to
the floor and some right hands to the head, followed by a springboard
dropkick to knock Vampiro off the apron.
Back
in and Vampiro scores with some kicks to the chest as Saturn comes
out to watch from the aisle. That goes nowhere and Vampiro nails a
Rock Bottom and a legdrop for two. Vampiro flips out of a monkey
flip and superkicks the Price down. Nail in the Coffin (Michinoku
Driver) gets the pin.
Rating:
D+.
This wasn’t terrible but history hasn’t been kind to Vampiro. He’s
watchable in the ring but time has shown that he’s almost all flash
with nothing to back it up in the ring. To be fair to him, dragging
an entertaining match out of Iaukea was next to impossible. Not a
great debut but there have been worse.
Horace and Brian Adams
talk about the events on Monday. Adams isn’t sure what’s going on
but Horace cuts him off with a right hand to the jaw.
Gene
brings out Flair for a chat. Flair has three things to get straight
before he gets to what he needs to talk about. First, whether anyone
likes it or not, he’s the World Champion. Before he goes on, he
yells at a fat boy in the audience holding a Hogan sign. Second,
he’s the President for life. Third, he’s a Florida Gator and has
never met a Wildcat that he liked. Flair says he’s tired of walking
into these arenas every week and sucking up to the fans, especially
when this outfit costs more than an average man makes in Kentucky in
a year.
Now on to business.
Last night at midnight, Flair had no idea where Scott Hall was, so
the US Title is vacant. There’s going to be a tournament for the
title, culminating at Spring Stampede. The first match is tonight
with Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Meng. That means every title has changed
hands in the span of five days.
Flair
calls out Hennig and has three things to say to him. One, if he
messes up Flair’s suit, he’s fired. Two, he respects Hennig but he
doesn’t get a shot tonight. Instead, he can have Hollywood in the
main event. Hennig is fine with a warm-up match before he gets to
face Flair. Flair’s third point: if Hennig touches Flair, he has
three choices: two other wrestling companies or go home. Tony:
“There are two other wrestling companies?”
Clips
of Mysterio taking the Cruiserweight Title on Monday in a great
match.
Cruiserweight Title:
Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
This
works. Juvy chops away to start and takes the champion down with a
headscissors. He tries another headscissors out of the corner but
gets dropped face first with a reverse powerbomb. Rey follows up
with a moonsault but doesn’t cover for some reason. Back in and
Juvy’s running powerslam is countered with a whip into the corner.
Juvy bails outside and gets nailed with a running flip dive.
We
come back from a break with Rey firing off forearms and draping Juvy
over the middle rope, setting up a top rope guillotine legdrop. Juvy
counters a hurricanrana and plants him with a running Liger Bomb. He
can’t follow up though and I have no idea why the referee isn’t
counting when both guys are down with Rey’s legs on top of Guerrera.

Back
up and they run the ropes with Rey taking him down with a
headscissors for two. There’s a Juvy Driver out of nowhere for two
and Guerrera is stunned. Rey’s sitout bulldog is countered with a
crotching on the top but Rey crotches him right back. A springboard
hurricanrana retains Rey’s title.
Rating:
B-.
Any combination of these two and Kidman were going to be awesome.
Mysterio may have been the best cruiserweright wrestler of all time
and some of the stuff he was doing around this time was just awesome.
Something tells me this is going to be the high point of the show.
This Week in WCW
Motorsports: not much.
Disco’s version of the
Konnan video.
Disco Inferno vs.
Disciple
Their
names both start with the same four letters and they both use
Stunners for a finisher. I’m so bored that I’m picking up things
like that. The next most interesting note: Sting will be on QVC
selling Beanie Bambinos on Wednesday. Disciple runs him over with a
shoulder to start. An armbar goes nowhere so Disciple hammers away
in the corner but Disco rolls away from the Apocalypse. Back in and
the Chartbuster is blocked as well before Disciple hits an atomic
drop. Three straight clotheslines get two on Disco but he comes back
with the Chartbuster (now called the Last Dance) for the pin.
Rating:
D.
Another match where they’re clearly just throwing people out there to
fill in time. Disciple was decent in a role like this where he could
get beaten up, even though he didn’t have the highest level of
skills. When Disco Inferno is by far the better guy in your match,
you’ve got a major problem.
Horace vs. Brian
Adams
It’s
a brawl to start as Adams suplexes him down and Tony laughs at the
Black and White falling apart. Brian misses a charge into the corner
and gets caught in a DDT. Horace throws him out to the floor and
actually hits a suicide dive. Back in and a splash gets two for
Horace but Adams comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. With
his offense exhausted, Adams sends him back to the floor. That goes
nowhere so Horace gets two off a small package back inside. Cue
Vince for a distraction and a foreign object to Horace. A hard shot
to Adams’ head is good for the pin.
Rating:
D-.
Horace Hogan is now winning matches on television. I mean….that’s
how low we’ve sunk people. One of the jobbiest jobbers to ever job
for a job is getting wins on live television in my hometown. The
match wasn’t interesting, it wasn’t really good, and it had
interference and a weapon. I’ll take anything else now.
Horace on the way to
the back: “SCALLIWAG!”
Gene
is in the back with Rick Steiner, who says he wants to get in on this
new hardcore division. He’s been working with a striking coach to
get better at the fighting style. Fit Finlay comes in and says he’s
from streets so tough that the only people walking down them were in
armored cars. He talks about Rick killing squirrels for some reason.
Rick: “Anything I can kill.” Now Finlay is talking about coming
to Rick’s house for some reason but they agree to a match on Monday
instead. I have no idea what I just heard.
Gene
(he’s busy tonight) brings out Hogan. Hollywood mentions the dark
cloud over Sunday’s title match but first wants to acknowledge the
fans’ reaction when he came out. Hogan couldn’t believe there was an
issue between Goldberg and Flair on Monday because everyone knows he
never lost the title on Sunday. He refers to himself as Hollywood
Hulk Hogan here.
Nash
told him that the fans want Hogan to take it to his opponents from
now on, and there’s a new Hollywood now. He talks about the power of
the pythons and says if you believe in Hollywood and the Pack (Jack)
you believe in them for life. Hogan says he’s going to pull some of
the old tricks out of the closet and he doesn’t care who Flair throws
at him. The fans weren’t as into this as they should have been, but
the crowd is so dead from the show they’ve sat through so far.
US
Title Tournament First Round: Meng vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
They slug it out to
start and I wouldn’t expect much selling here. Meng tries a slam but
Bigelow falls on top of him for two. Bigelow goes to the eyes and
puts on a chinlock as the BORING chant begins. Meng comes back with
a jawbreaker and hammers away in the corner. A big kick to the face
sets up the Tongan Death Grip for the win.
Rating:
D.
This should have been a much bigger brawl with no chinlocks. Instead
it was less than five minutes long with no energy and a quick ending.
I’ll give them this though: I wasn’t sure who was going to win until
the end, which isn’t something you often get on this show, especially
this episode.
Hollywood Hogan vs.
Curt Hennig
Hogan takes him to the
ropes to start and actually puts on a cross armbreaker. Back up and
some right hands have no effect on Hogan so he punches Hennig in the
corner. Hennig nails some more right hands to better effect followed
by some choking. Horace Hogan comes out to ringside as Curt hits the
necksnap.
Hogan fights back with
more right hands and an abdominal stretch. Curt escapes and slams
him down, sending Hogan to the floor. That’s fine with Hollywood who
pulls Hennig outside and whips him with the weightlifting belt.
Hennig takes it away and whips Hogan before Horace breaks up the
PerfectPlex. Hulk Up, big boot, legdrop, we’re done.
Rating:
D.
The finishing sequence got a better reaction from the crowd but the
face turn is still waiting for its big moment. He needs to ditch the
black and white or at least shave for it to really kick in. The
match wasn’t much to see though, which is odd given how many times
these guys have fought each other.
Hollywood jaws to the
camera a lot to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D-.
This is why it’s really hard to get behind WCW. They’ll come off a
hot show on Monday and then we get something like this where there’s
no effort put in and the show is a disaster. Juvy vs. Mysterio was
good and it’s nice to see some star power at the end, but I was done
after the first hour. I’m so glad I didn’t go to this show as I
can’t imagine what next week will be like.
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